Reconfiguring Romanticism (5): Dionysios Solomos Poem & Commentary

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa On 3:28 PM
with Jeffrey C. Robinson

THE SHARK


Solomos' poem "The Shark" (O Porphyras) is based on a newspaper account of the tragic death of a young English soldier whose remains were washed ashore the day after he was killed by a shark as he swam in the harbor of Corfu on July 19, 1847. A friend of the poet reported that he and other friends heard a recitation by the poet of the complete poem, but the work now survives primarily in two fragmented manuscripts catalogued in the National Library of Greece. Linos Politis presents the poem in his edition as a sequence of eight fragments, which have been separated by dashes but not numbered in this translation. The seventeen-line quotation is spoken by the young swimmer. [Translators' note]

Though watchful Hell's always out to get you,
it has none but a distant dominion
far from Paradise, and you have in you
a place in your heart--hear it yearning?
--
You look at the first bright rose of the sun,
yes, first, but that's second to your own face!
--
"May night send me thousands of stars to bathe with.
--
You, black cleft in the rocks, laugh among flowers.
--
Now downward and near wheels the golden-winged
that quickly left its branch for the rocky shore
and there takes in beauties of sea and sky,
and there heaves its voice with all its magic,
harmonizing sea with desolate stone,
and calls out the late night star that must rise.
Birdie, airing your voice of miracles,
if your marvelous song is not pure bliss,
nothing good has flowered here or in heaven.
Oh, if one stroke could get me where I'd go,
sea-foam, keep me afloat till my return,
with mother's kiss, native earth in my fist.
--
I kiss my hands and sweetly hug myself.
My soul's eyes are open wide and watching.
So whence springs your birth, fountain so graceful?"
--
Nature, you smiled at once and yielded to him.
Hope, you bound his mind with all your magic powers.
Lovely, new world full of joy and goodness.
He looked around to see .............................
Now confronts the youth the tiger of the sea,
and far, alas, from reach his sword and musket.
How easily it slices through the deep
and comes speeding ...................................
for the pure white throat gleaming like a swan's,
for the strong broad chest and for the fair head,
for the sweet magnanimous breath of youth,
and thus the young man ...............................
from Nature's gorgeous, powerful embrace,
in which she softly held and whispered him--
while in his free, naked glowing body
the crafts of swimmer and of warrior stirred.
--
Before it passed the great soul filled with joy,
in a bolt of light the young man knew himself.
Worlds around him opened, showering him with crowns.
............................................................................
Torso wondrous in your ruin and grandeur,
dear lovely stranger in the bloom of youth,
come, receive ashore the strong man's lament.

Translation from Greek by George Economou & Stavros Deligiorgis


COMMENTARY

I have nothing in mind except liberty and language. (D.S., in “Dialogue between the Poet and the Pedant”)

(1) “He has always been a beginning,” George Seferis wrote about him, looking back from both a Greek & modernist perspective. A “national poet” like Adam Mickiewicz & others (he is in fact the author of the Greek national anthem), he was also an extraordinary innovator, whose role in the revitalizing of Greek language & poetry – away from the classical & into the vernacular/oral – took effect in his own century, but whose greatest & most experimental work wasn’t recovered until seventy years after his death. He is in that sense a poet (like Smart & Blake & Dickinson) whose work, at least on an international scale, comes to fruition at a time beyond his own. Born on the Ionian island of Zante (Zakynthos) to an aristocratic Venetian father & a Greek mother, he went to Italy at the age of eight & stayed on until he was twenty. His early poems were in Italian, while many of his Greek writings show a non-conventional orthography & a sense of poetry as an oral phenomenon with prose as its post-facto written medium. Even as he sets a standard for a new literary Greek, his own work develops what one of his later editors Peter Mackeridge calls “a dialogue between languages” & an overwhelming sense of the demotic. Or Solomos himself: “Every language should necessarily have words from other languages.” And again: “The nobility of languages is like the nobility of a people … The kind of nobility that English words had before Shakespeare wrote, the one French words had before Racine did, the one Greek words had before Homer, and they all wrote the words of their time.”

(2) The events underlying Solomos’s two great poems, The Free Besieged & The Woman of Zante were the two Turkish sieges of Missolonghi & their repercussions, in the latter poem, on the island of Zante. Both of the longer poems were fragmentary – works in process – & both are major examples of experimental romanticism. In The Woman of Zante (1826-1833), Solomos turned to a form of free verse or short, numbered prose paragraphs, to carry his narrative: an account by the “monk Dionysios” of the Woman of Zante’s rejection of pleas from embattled Missolonghi that moves between realism & mirror-dream fantasy. But the total work, as recovered in manuscript in 1927, has a still further complexity. As translator Stavros Deligiorgis describes it: “Solomos's neatly copied text occupies the left hand column of the Ms., the right hand column containing texts which all scholars and editors have relegated either to the status of foot- or end-notes or to very private memos that Solomos wrote – a propos of the primary text in the opposite column – for the purposes of an eventual elaboration. The right-hand column, however, appears to contain vignettes and episodes that, beyond amplifying and commenting on the left column, may be observed to possess a large degree of narrative autonomy. It is … the intention of the translation … to elevate this neglected parallel text to the kind of visibility that Solomos's creative ‘intellection’ clearly prefigured.”

[ From Poems for the Millennium, Volume 3: The University of California Book of Romantic & Postromantic Poetry, edited by Jerome Rothenberg & Jeffrey C. Robinson (scheduled for publication in January 2009). A portion of the double-columned text, not shown here, will of course appear in Poems for the Millennium itself. A version of “The Shark” was published earlier in Lou Rowan’s Golden Handcuffs Review. Earlier excerpts from Poems for the Millennium appeared on June 11, June 18, June 24, and July 6.]

0 Response to 'Reconfiguring Romanticism (5): Dionysios Solomos Poem & Commentary'

Post a Comment

Tattoos Picture Page 1 Tattoos Picture Page 2 Tattoos Picture Page 3 Tattoos Picture Page 4 Tattoos Picture Page 5 Tattoos Picture Page 6 Tattoos Picture Page 7 Tattoos Picture Page 8 Tattoos Picture Page 9 Tattoos Picture Page 10 Tattoos Picture Page 11 Tattoos Picture Page 12 Tattoos Picture Page 13 Tattoos Picture Page 14 Tattoos Picture Page 15 Tattoos Picture Page 16 Tattoos Picture Page 17 Tattoos Picture Page 18 Tattoos Picture Page 19 Tattoos Picture Page 20 Tattoos Picture Page 21 Tattoos Picture Page 22 Tattoos Picture Page 23 Tattoos Picture Page 24 Tattoos Picture Page 25 Tattoos Picture Page 26 Tattoos Picture Page 27 Tattoos Picture Page 28 Tattoos Picture Page 29 Tattoos Picture Page 30 Tattoos Picture Page 31 Tattoos Picture Page 32 Tattoos Picture Page 33 Tattoos Picture Page 34 Tattoos Picture Page 35 Tattoos Picture Page 36 Tattoos Picture Page 37 Tattoos Picture Page 38 Tattoos Picture Page 39 Tattoos Picture Page 40 Tattoos Picture Page 41 Tattoos Picture Page 42 Tattoos Picture Page 43 Tattoos Picture Page 44 Tattoos Picture Page 45 Tattoos Picture Page 46 Tattoos Picture Page 47 Tattoos Picture Page 48 Tattoos Picture Page 49 Tattoos Picture Page 50 Tattoos Picture Page 51 Tattoos Picture Page 52 Tattoos Picture Page 53 Tattoos Picture Page 54 Tattoos Picture Page 55 Tattoos Picture Page 56 Tattoos Picture Page 57 Tattoos Picture Page 58 Tattoos Picture Page 59 Tattoos Picture Page 60 Tattoos Picture Page 61 Tattoos Picture Page 62 Tattoos Picture Page 63 Tattoos Picture Page 64 Tattoos Picture Page 65 Tattoos Picture Page 66 Tattoos Picture Page 67 Tattoos Picture Page 68 Tattoos Picture Page 69 Tattoos Picture Page 70 Tattoos Picture Page 71 Tattoos Picture Page 72 Tattoos Picture Page 73 Tattoos Picture Page 74 Tattoos Picture Page 75 Tattoos Picture Page 76 Tattoos Picture Page 77 Tattoos Picture Page 78 Tattoos Picture Page 79 Tattoos Picture Page 80 Tattoos Picture Page 81 Tattoos Picture Page 82 Tattoos Picture Page 83 Tattoos Picture Page 84 Tattoos Picture Page 85 Tattoos Picture Page 86 Tattoos Picture Page 87 Tattoos Picture Page 88 Tattoos Picture Page 89 Tattoos Picture Page 90 Tattoos Picture Page 91 Tattoos Picture Page 92 Tattoos Picture Page 93 Tattoos Picture Page 94 Tattoos Picture Page 95 Tattoos Picture Page 96 Tattoos Picture Page 97 Tattoos Picture Page 98 Tattoos Picture Page 99 Tattoos Picture Page 100 Tattoos Picture Page 101 Tattoos Picture Page 102 Tattoos Picture Page 103 Tattoos Picture Page 104 Tattoos Picture Page 105 Tattoos Picture Page 106 Tattoos Picture Page 107 Tattoos Picture Page 108 Tattoos Picture Page 109 Tattoos Picture Page 110 Tattoos Picture Page 111 Tattoos Picture Page 112 Tattoos Picture Page 113 Tattoos Picture Page 114 Tattoos Picture Page 115 Tattoos Picture Page 116 Tattoos Picture Page 117 Tattoos Picture Page 118 Tattoos Picture Page 119 Tattoos Picture Page 120 Luxury Villa and Home Page 1 Luxury Villa and Home Page 2 Luxury Villa and Home Page 3 Luxury Villa and Home Page 4 Luxury Villa and Home Page 5 Luxury Villa and Home Page 6 Luxury Villa and Home Page 7 Luxury Villa and Home Page 8 Luxury Villa and Home Page 9 Luxury Villa and Home Page 10 Luxury Villa and Home Page 11 Luxury Villa and Home Page 12 Luxury Villa and Home Page 13 Luxury Villa and Home Page 14 Luxury Villa and Home Page 15 Luxury Villa and Home Page 16 Luxury Villa and Home Page 17 Luxury Villa and Home Page 18 Luxury Villa and Home Page 19 Luxury Villa and Home Page 20 Luxury Villa and Home Page 21 Luxury Villa and Home Page 22 Luxury Villa and Home Page 23 Luxury Villa and Home Page 24 Luxury Villa and Home Page 25 Luxury Villa and Home Page 26 Luxury Villa and Home Page 27 Luxury Villa and Home Page 28 Luxury Villa and Home Page 29 Luxury Villa and Home Page 30 Luxury Villa and Home Page 31 Luxury Villa and Home Page 32 Luxury Villa and Home Page 33 Luxury Villa and Home Page 34 Luxury Villa and Home Page 35 Luxury Villa and Home Page 36 Luxury Villa and Home Page 37 Luxury Villa and Home Page 38 Luxury Villa and Home Page 39 Luxury Villa and Home Page 40 Luxury Villa and Home Page 41 Luxury Villa and Home Page 42 Luxury Villa and Home Page 43 Luxury Villa and Home Page 44 Luxury Villa and Home Page 45 Luxury Villa and Home Page 46 Luxury Villa and Home Page 47 Luxury Villa and Home Page 48 Luxury Villa and Home Page 49 Luxury Villa and Home Page 50 Luxury Villa and Home Page 51 Luxury Villa and Home Page 52 Luxury Villa and Home Page 53 Luxury Villa and Home Page 54 Luxury Villa and Home Page 55 Luxury Villa and Home Page 56 Luxury Villa and Home Page 57 Luxury Villa and Home Page 58 Luxury Villa and Home Page 59 Luxury Villa and Home Page 60 Luxury Villa and Home Page 61 Luxury Villa and Home Page 62 Luxury Villa and Home Page 63 Luxury Villa and Home Page 64 Luxury Villa and Home Page 65 Luxury Villa and Home Page 66 Luxury Villa and Home Page 67 Luxury Villa and Home Page 68 Luxury Villa and Home Page 69 Luxury Villa and Home Page 70 Luxury Villa and Home Page 71 Luxury Villa and Home Page 72 Luxury Villa and Home Page 73 Luxury Villa and Home Page 74 Luxury Villa and Home Page 75 Luxury Villa and Home Page 76 Luxury Villa and Home Page 77 Luxury Villa and Home Page 78 Luxury Villa and Home Page 79 Luxury Villa and Home Page 80 Luxury Villa and Home Page 81 Luxury Villa and Home Page 82 Luxury Villa and Home Page 83 Luxury Villa and Home Page 84 Luxury Villa and Home Page 85 Luxury Villa and Home Page 86 Luxury Villa and Home Page 87 Luxury Villa and Home Page 88 Luxury Villa and Home Page 89 Luxury Villa and Home Page 90 Luxury Villa and Home Page 91 Luxury Villa and Home Page 92 Luxury Villa and Home Page 93 Luxury Villa and Home Page 94 Luxury Villa and Home Page 95 Luxury Villa and Home Page 96 Luxury Villa and Home Page 97 Luxury Villa and Home Page 98 Luxury Villa and Home Page 99 Famous People Page 1 Famous People Page 2 Famous People Page 3 Famous People Page 4 Famous People Page 5 Famous People Page 6 Famous People Page 7 Famous People Page 8 Famous People Page 9 Famous People Page 10 Famous People Page 11 Famous People Page 12 Famous People Page 13 Famous People Page 14 Famous People Page 15 Famous People Page 16 Famous People Page 17 Famous People Page 18 Famous People Page 19 Famous People Page 20 Famous People Page 21 Famous People Page 22 Famous People Page 23 Famous People Page 24 Famous People Page 25 Famous People Page 26 Famous People Page 27 Famous People Page 28 Famous People Page 29 Famous People Page 30 Famous People Page 31 Famous People Page 32 Famous People Page 33 Famous People Page 34 Famous People Page 35 Famous People Page 36 Famous People Page 37 Famous People Page 38 Famous People Page 39 Famous People Page 40 Famous People Page 41 Famous People Page 42 Famous People Page 43 Famous People Page 44 Famous People Page 45 Famous People Page 46 Famous People Page 47 Famous People Page 48 Famous People Page 49 Famous People Page 50 Famous People Page 51 Famous People Page 52 Famous People Page 53 Famous People Page 54 Famous People Page 55 Famous People Page 56 Famous People Page 57 Famous People Page 58 Famous People Page 59 Famous People Page 60 Famous People Page 61 Famous People Page 62 Famous People Page 63 Famous People Page 64 Famous People Page 65 Famous People Page 66 Famous People Page 67 Famous People Page 68 Famous People Page 69 Famous People Page 70 Famous People Page 71 Famous People Page 72 Famous People Page 73 Famous People Page 74 Famous People Page 75 Famous People Page 76 Famous People Page 77 Famous People Page 78 Famous People Page 79 Famous People Page 80 Famous People Page 81 Famous People Page 82 Famous People Page 83 Famous People Page 84 Famous People Page 85 Famous People Page 86 Famous People Page 87 Famous People Page 88 Famous People Page 89 Famous People Page 90 Famous People Page 91 Famous People Page 92 Famous People Page 93 Famous People Page 94 Famous People Page 95 Famous People Page 96 Famous People Page 97 Famous People Page 98 Famous People Page 99 Famous People Page 100 Famous People Page 101 Famous People Page 102 Famous People Page 103 Famous People Page 104 Famous People Page 105 Famous People Page 106 Famous People Page 107 Famous People Page 108 Famous People Page 109 Famous People Page 110 Famous People Page 111 Famous People Page 112 Famous People Page 113 Famous People Page 114 Famous People Page 115 Famous People Page 116 Famous People Page 117 Famous People Page 118 Famous People Page 119 Famous People Page 120

Blog Archive